2010 World Cup winners Spain have defeated Croatia in the finals to be crowned the champions of the 2023 UEFA Nations League. The team won in the penalties 5-4 thanks to right back Dani Carvajal’s decisive spot-kick.
This is the second time that Spain has reached the final of the UEFA Nations League, while Luka Modric’s Croatia played their first-ever Nations League Final. Spain lost the 2020/21 finals against France and was looking to finish on the right side of the result this time around.
After the game, Spain manager Luis de La Fuente praised his new-formed side and said that their winning mentality is back within the lads.
“These players are used to winning,” de La Fuente told reporters after the game. “They have won so much coming through the ranks and this can continue, I think this competitive streak is back and we can look forward to winning more.”
“I know this generation of players very well and I knew they wouldn’t let me down,” de La Fuente said. “We’ve been very relaxed throughout this week and enjoyed our training sessions. I told them to stay calm because they had done a brilliant job. We would have deserved to win the game earlier, but this makes the win even more epic. I would have been happy even if we hadn’t won tonight, but winning adds the gloss and of course, makes everyone happier,” the manager of Spain added.
In the semi-finals of the Nations League, Croatia defeated the Netherlands 4-2 in an exciting encounter that went down to extra time. Meanwhile, Spain beat Italy 2-1 thanks to an 88th-minute winner from striker Joselu.